A couple of months ago, I had sparkly collars on Dean and Tessa after Rally FrEe class, and Ben commented that it looked like they had been at the "discoteque"!! Since they I have jokingly called that class "the discoteque".
We had class last night and it went very well. Instead of doing a course, we spent some time on five of the Advanced Level exercises.
Tessa's favorite, of course, were the pivots behind me! That girl looooooves her pivot platform work! I did not work Dean on the pivots because he pulled a muscle in his leg at Agility last week. Even though he is doing a lot better, I thought pivots might aggravate it.
Dean did well with the two backing exercises. One is easy peasy for him because we've been doing this for years! He backs four steps away and then does a behavior out at a distance. He did spins, twirls, curtsies, and even a splat with his chin to the floor! The other was new - he had to stop after backing four steps away and wait while I returned around him. He actually did fine with the wait, but when I tried to return around, he kept turning toward me. We need to work on that part!
We also did the exercise where the dog turns away and backs under the handler's legs. Dean almost has that one down. He still needs a hand target for the turn, but he really is ready for that to start to fade!
The other exercise we worked on was an alternate position. I haven't decided on which one I want to train, so we played with "crosses". That is what I call the position where the dog turns across the front of me. I'm not sold on this position for Dean. I need to play around with this to figure out what he will enjoy the most.
The backing exercises are still new to Tessa so we worked just on backing away. She isn't quite going four steps yet. She will go two and stop. Then she will lay down or paw at the ring gate! Basically, she is offering behaviors. So, we need to work on duration of backing.
I also introduced distance to her by putting her in a box of ring gates and then I had her do spins and twirls. At first I was right by her, but I was able to move up to a foot away. She seemed to kind of like it, actually.
She is getting the turn of the turn and back, but we have quite a lot to do with that. And I think the cross is a nice alternative position for her and I am fairly certain that I am going to work that one with her.
It felt really good to work on some of these detail type exercises. Both dogs enjoyed themselves and it was great to have a chance to do some quality foundation training.
Night life on a Monday! Perfect!